And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 1: Domonic Brown’s debut was a splendid one: a
single, an RBI double and a sac fly. Carlos Ruiz had two RBI doubles. No
pressure on the offense on this night, however, as Roy Halladay took a
shutout into the ninth and ended up with the complete game.

Braves
3, Nationals 1
: Jason Heyward Stole Home. I want to crow about this and
add it to his legend and everything, but this wasn’t exactly the
Jackie-Robinson-sliding-under-Yogi’s-tag mental image we all get when
someone says “so-and-so stole home.” Basically Brian McCann was
dead-to-rights on either a steal or a botched hit and run between first
and second and got himself caught in a rundown long enough to let
Heyward come in from third. Yes, that’s technically a steal of home. We
should either call that or the more dramatic straight steal of home
something else though. Because one is pure beauty and the other is just
kind of a mess.

Giants 10, Marlins 9: The Giants blew a 7-1 lead
but Andres Torres — who had earlier splashed one into McCovey Cove, hit
a walkoff RBI single in the tenth. It was really kind of a ground rule
double in that it bounced over the wall, but since there was a runner on
third it goes in the books as a plain old single because that’s all
that was necessary to score the winning run. I’m going to call it a
ground rule single, though, because that just sounds more fun.

Cardinals 8, Mets 7: The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first and led 7-2 as late as the sixth inning, when Jaime Garcia hit a wall and Mitchell Boggs threw kerosene on the fire. Six relievers and seven innings later St. Louis prevails on an Albert Pujols RBI single in the 13th. The last time Garcia and Johan Santana faced each other it went 20 innings, however, so this was a crisp one by comparison. 

Reds 10, Brewers 2: Brandon Phillips hit a monster grand slam that bounced off Bernie Brewer’s big, twisty yellow slide. This never would have happened if they had just left his cool, little, beer-stein slide out there the way God and Nature intended.

Astros 8, Cubs 1: Two homers for Carlos Lee. If he has another day like that one his OBP may inch over .300 and his SLG may top .400. For his part, Lee credits new Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell. The Astros would probably be better off if they activated Bagwell instead.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 0: Brad Mills — who had only two undistinguished starts in his career before last night — gets the callup for the Jays and the Orioles make him look like he’s Greg Maddux (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). A decent night for O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie too (7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER). I’m surprised there hasn’t been more trade chatter about him.

Red Sox 7, Angels 3: Joel Piniero was scratched before the game with an oblique strain and Scot “I haven’t started a game in seven years” Shields got the call. He went an inning and two-thirds, gave up a couple of bombs, threw too many pitches and was followed by a parade of relievers who kept the Angels in it by virtue of the Sox leaving so many runners on base. Marco Scutaro ended the competitive portion of the game with an eighth inning grand slam.

Twins 6, Royals 4: So much for that “Brian Bannister is great in day games” baloney that people (me) like to spew. Banny was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Of course given how the Royals’ pitchers had been doing against Minnesota this series, that qualifies as a gutsy, effective outing. A three-run bomb for Delmon Young, whose wonderful season continues. At the outset I had assumed it was a Faustian bargain kind of thing, but the more I see, the more I think that just maybe he’s made The Leap.

Rays 7, Tigers 4: Eddie Bonine: a reliever is pressed into service as a spot starter and the results were quite Scot Shieldsian (3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena continue to do damage against the Tigers. Which reminds me: yesterday I joked that the Rays should run out a lineup of old Tigers. In that lineup, I included Ray Oyler, saying that he was about to turn 72 next week.  Which he would have if he hadn’t died 29 years ago. I regret the error, but I stand by using Oyler in a gimmicky lineup because you can say what you want about him, but his plate patience is way better than it was back in his playing and living days.

Padres 6, Dodegers 1: Five Padres pitchers combine to four-hit the Dodgers. But don’t worry: Scott Podsednik will be in uniform tonight, so the offensive equation will totally change.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: A rough start for Mark Buehrle, but the Sox overcome it with the longball. Bobby Jenks strikes out the side in the ninth for the save, so we’re back to normal there.

Pirates 6, Rockies 2: Colorado’s post-break nightmare continues. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf was hit in the head with a comebacker in the first but made it to the hospital and back before the game ended. The game lasted 3:17, so you figure with travel time and however long the game had gone on when he was hit, he was at the hospital for less than three hours. Query: have any of you ever gotten out of a hospital visit that quickly for an injury/observation kind of thing? My wife fell and thought she broke something once and we were there for, like, seven hours. It’s good to be a ballplayer.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Trevor Cahill two-hits the first place Rangers over eight innings. Kurt Suzuki hit a solo homer, had an RBI single and was driven in to score a third run by Jack Cust.

Yankees 8, Indians 0: The Yankees pounce on Fausto Carmona for seven runs in the first three innings and never look back. Six and a third shutout innings for A.J. Burnett. Joba Chamberlain came in in the seventh, walked Andy Marte and then balked him to second before settling down and retiring the last two batters of the inning. I’m sure this will analyzed to the nth degree in the tabloids today.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

Blaine Boyer
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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.

The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp
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Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com reports that the Padres have tried to trade Matt Kemp.

Shocker given that he’s 31 and is owed $21.75 million over each of the next four seasons. Still, if the Padres eat some cash someone may bite. Kemp started slowly in 2015 but was solid in the second half. He finished with a line of .265/.312/.443, 23 home runs, and 100 RBI in 648 plate appearances. That last number is key because the once-fraglie Kemp has been healthy for two years now. Someone could use that level of production.

Just not at those prices.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.